Chelsea defender Fikayo Tomori has revealed the reasons behind his decision to snub a Deadline Day loan move to West Ham United at the eleventh hour.
Tomori pulled off a dramatic U-turn in the closing stages of the international market this summer, having seemingly all-but-agreed to put pen to paper on a one-year deal at the London Stadium.
West Ham were so keen to sign the one-cap England international that reports surfaced by talkSPORT soon after the deal fell through claiming the Irons had agreed to pay Chelsea an additional £50,000 for every match in which Tomori did not feature.
The Irons had left themselves in a desperate panic to sign Premier League proven or top-flight ready centre-halves after seeing months of pursuits fail to materialise in done deals, and ultimately settled for Watford’s Craig Dawson following the Hornet’s relegation.
Tomori had been a candidate that appeared achievable having been frozen out at Stamford Bridge under boss Frank Lampard, who has so far awarded the defender just 44 minutes in the Premier League this season.
But the 22-year-old ultimately decided he would rather stay in south-west London than move to east, and has now revealed his thinking behind the shock turnaround.
“Obviously, in football, things change so quickly so I wanted to make sure whatever decision I made was really thought out and to try and do what’s best for me,” Tomori said on the Chelsea Mike’d Up podcast.
“I made the decision in the end to stay, to improve more, get some more games, gain some more experience and try and get to the levels I was at last season. I wanted everything to be thought out and I thought about what was happening, especially when we had a few weeks off leading up to the new season.
“I was talking a lot with my agent, to get some clarity [on] what was going on. With transfers, I prefer if it wasn’t last minute, but situations happen where you have to make a decision quickly. It was one of those situations and, as you all know, I made a decision to stay.”
Tomori and fellow Chelsea outcast Antonio Rudiger are expected to reassess their situations in January if Lampard is not more forthcoming with game time over the coming months, per The Telegraph.
It would remain to be seen if West Ham are interested in attempting to sign Tomori on loan again having been burned in such dramatic fashion this summer, but it would also be up for debate if the £18m-rated ace would consider life at the London Stadium given his reasons for staying at Stamford Bridge.
Tomori seemingly did not feel he would develop in the same fashion under Irons boss David Moyes as he would by working under Lampard, even if the England icon is not currently considering the 22-year-old a key part of his plans like the Scottish coach would possibly have.
If Tomori had any doubts whatsoever over Moyes’ managerial ability, it should raise greater concerns among the Hammers hierarchy and potentially offer a justifiable reason why so many of their summer pursuits fell through beyond not meeting certain club’s asking prices.
Moyes has awarded Premier League debuts to players throughout his managerial career, but the last academy graduates to make their top-flight bows were West Ham’s Jeremy Ngakia in January and Joel Asoro for Sunderland in August 2016.
Ngakia went on to make four further first-team appearances due to an injury to Ryan Fredericks before joining Watford as a free agent this summer over fears for his game time, with whom the 20-year-old has started all four of their opening Championship fixtures.